Pfizer jab side effects mild or moderate in at-risk 12 to 15-year-olds – study
By Aine Fox, PA
Side effects from the Pfizer vaccine in children aged between 12 and 15 and considered vulnerable to Covid-19 infection were mostly mild or moderate, a small study has suggested.
Researchers in Bristol looked at 27 children whose parents recorded any side effects after the jab.
Adverse reactions were either mild or moderate in all of the young people, except one who had “severe fatigue and severe discomfort combined with increased agitation”.
Currently, children aged between 12 and 15 who are clinically vulnerable to Covid or live with adults who are at increased risk of serious illness from the virus are eligible for a coronavirus vaccine.
There have been calls from some quarters to extend the rollout to all healthy 12 to 15-year-olds, especially as the return of schools is expected to lead to a rise in infections.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has not given a recommendation to widen the rollout to this age group, but the NHS in England is reportedly making preparations to enable it to proceed if there is a decision to do so.
All of the participants in the study were children with severe neurodisabilities who tend to get recurrent respiratory infections and spend time in residential care.
Researchers said one family reported a change in seizure type but this had been resolved a week after the vaccine.
Effects in six of the children after a first dose included a mild rash, headache, diarrhoea, presumed sore throat, neck pain, difficulty sleeping and low blood sugars.
But all of these had gone away within 72 hours, according to the study, which is due to be published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.
Five of the children had effects including diarrhoea, vomiting, armpit swelling and blisters around the mouth after the second dose.
The researchers said fever was more common than in adult studies, with 13% of the children having a temperature greater than 38C compared with 4% in people aged between 16 and 55.
Other recorded adverse events all resolved within a week, the study by scientists from the department of paediatric immunology and infectious diseases at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children and the University of Bristol noted.
They said: “Numbers were small but these data are especially important as they are representative of the children who are most likely to benefit from vaccination and parents and clinicians may have concerns regarding an increased risk of unexpected events.”